Open Source Soaks Database Market

Revenue of the niche offering rose 47% in 2005.
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Open-source database software, once a curiosity, is becoming a force in the $13.8 billion market.




and a handful of other open-source providers accounted for license, maintenance and subscription revenue of $100 million in 2005, an increase of 47%, according to a report by Gartner analyst Colleen Graham.

Although open source is still a tiny fraction of the total market, it is growing much faster. The relational database market as a whole grew by 8.3% in 2005 to $13.8 billion.

Open-source database sales have lagged, while sales of the Linux operating system offered by vendors like

Red Hat


and various open-source middleware have grown strongly, in part, because few third-party developers were willing to provide the software tools needed to support the database. But that's changing, says Graham, who notes that vendors like

Embarcadero Technologies


are moving into the market as it grows.

Because this is the first year Gartner has included open-source vendors in its annual survey, Graham did not release share numbers for individual companies, but did say that Ingres, a spinoff from


(CA) - Get Report

, and MySQL, accounted for about 90% of the open-source database revenue.

Not surprisingly,


(ORCL) - Get Report

remains the overall leader with a share of 48.6%, or $6.7 billion, which represented revenue growth of 7.8%.


(IBM) - Get Report

is in second place with a share of 22%, or $3.04 billion, and growth of 6.3%.

Although it accounted for less revenue than Oracle or IBM,


(MSFT) - Get Report

grew faster than its major rivals, upping its database revenue by 16.6% to $2.07 billion and a share of 13.9%, according to Gartner.

This year's survey is something of a departure for Gartner, which in the past ranked vendors by license revenue. But the growth of open source and new business models, such as subscription, convinced researchers to revise their methodology, said Graham.

When ranked by license revenue in the past, IBM and Oracle were generally tied for first, with Microsoft third.